Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds by Gary M. Pomerantz
The Tragedy & Triumph of ASA Flight 529

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“A deeply moving account of the extraordinary strengths that ordinary people can display when tragedy confronts them. As emotionally powerful a book as you are likely ever to read.”
–David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross

In August 1995, twenty-six passengers and a crew of three board a commuter plane in Atlanta headed for Gulfport, Mississippi. Shortly after takeoff they hear an explosion and, looking out the windows on the left side, see a mangled engine lodged against the wing. From that moment, nine minutes and twenty seconds elapse until the crippled plane crashes in a west Georgia hayfield–nine minutes and twenty seconds in which Gary Pomerantz takes readers deep into the hearts and minds of the people aboard, each of whom prepares in his or her own way for what may come.

Ultimately, nineteen people survive both the crash and its devastating aftermath, all of them profoundly affected by what they have seen and, more important, what they have done to help themselves and others.

This is not so much a book about a plane crash as it is a psychologically illuminating real-life drama about ordinary people and how they behave in extraordinary circumstances. Each of us has wondered what we would do to survive a life-threatening situation: Would I survive? How would I conduct myself–would I act to save others in need or only myself? Would others try to save me? How would I be affected by the experience? Judging by what is revealed in Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, the answers are surprisingly optimistic.

In telling the remarkable stories of these twenty-nine men and women, Gary Pomerantz has written one of the most compelling books in recent memory. Open to any page and you’ll immediately be drawn into the dramatic pull of the narrative. But on a deeper level, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds speaks as powerfully about our capacity to care for others as it does about the strength of our will to live. This rich and rewarding book will linger in your mind long after you turn the last page.

About Gary M. Pomerantz

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Gary M. Pomerantz served the past two years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at Emory University in Atlanta. His first book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, was named a 1996 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. He captured the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing in 1999 and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for feature writing for his seven-part series in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the air crash that is the subject of this book. He lives with his wife and three children near San Francisco.
Published September 4, 2001 by Crown. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

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One man is wondering how bad it is when he looks at a passenger with a window seat: “He’s got a better view than I do and he’s got tears in his eyes.” The plane never makes it to the airport, landing in a hayfield at 138 miles per hour, bouncing, spinning, and breaking apart.

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Publishers Weekly

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The title refers to the amount of time the 29 passengers and crew aboard flight 529 from Atlanta to Mississippi had to say their prayers, watch their lives flash before their eyes and prepare themselves for the inevitable crash after the airplane's left engine failed.

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Publishers Weekly

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The title refers to the time that elapsed from the catastrophic failure of flight 529's left engine to the moment the 65-foot fuselage came to a twisted halt in a hayfield in southeastern Georgia.

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